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7i              A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT
"My son, the mighty lords of the secret powers have taken thee into their hands. Thou art to be led into the Hall of Learning to-night/' he explained dispassionately. "Stretch thyself out upon this stone! In olden days it would have been within that yonder, upon a bed of papyrus-reeds/' and he pointed to the coffin-like sarcophagus.
It did not occur to me to do other than obey my mysterious visitant. I laid myself flat upon my back.
What happened immediately afterwards is still not very clear to me. It was as though he had unexpectedly given me a dose of some peculiar, slow-working, anaesthetic, for all my muscles became taut, after which a paralysing lethargy began to creep over my limbs. My entire body became heavy and numb. First, my feet became colder and colder. The feeling developed into a kind of iciness which moved by imperceptible degrees up my legs, reached the knees, whence it continued its mounting journey. It was as though I had sunk up to the waist in a pile of snow while on some mountain climb. All sensation in the lower limbs was numbed..
I appeared next to pass into a semi-somnolent condition and a mysterious intimation of approaching death crept into my mind. It did not trouble me, however, for I had long ago liberated myself from the ancient fear of death and arrived at a philosophic acceptance of its inevitability.
As this strange chilling sensation continued to grip me, to pass up my shivering spine, to overpower my entire body, I felt myself sinking inwards in consciousness to some central point-within my brain, while my breathing became weaker and weaker.
When the chill reached my chest and the rest of my body was completely paralysed, something like a heart attack supervened, but it passed quickly and I knew that the supreme crisis was not far off.
Had I been able to move my stiff jaws, I might have laughed at the next thought which came to me. It was this:
"To-morrow, they wi]l find my dead body inside the Great Pyramid—and that will be the end of me."
I was quite sure that all my sensations were due to the passage of my own spirit from physical life to the regions beyond death.
Although I knew perfectly well that I was passing through all the sensations of dying, all opposition had now vanished.
At last, my concentrated consciousness lay in the head alone,